New to Blu: January 23 – 29


First Man

➢ “First Man was primarily shot on film, much of it 16mm, and finished at 2K. This upscaled UHD with Dolby Vision colour grading offers a slightly solidified, more prominently filmic presentation compared to the Blu-ray, which is excellent. The image is a little more inherently soft than some films. The UHD does not magically make any scenes sharper, per se, but it does create a finer filmic presentation, with more natural grain and slightly greater clarity to the base elements.” —

➢ “Colour has been graded for high dynamic range in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and this really does give the film an extra bit of richness and dimensionality. Blacks are deepened and the colour palette, especially early in the film, has a warm and vibrant 1960s Kodachrome quality. The HDR also allows instrument panels and indicators to pop nicely. The image texturing overall is very nicely refined and exhibits lovely detail.” — The Digital Bits.

➢ “Presented in a widescreen ratio of 2.39:1 mastered in HD 1080p 24/fps using AVC MPEG-4 compression. The transfer accurately replicates the film’s presentation, for the most part. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren has masterfully crafted this film, from the framing, to the composition, and lighting, it looks great considering the juggling of formats (16mm, 35mm, 65mm). There where some moments of soft focus that did take me out of the film but only for a second, and I was sucked right back in again.” — Rewind.



➢ “A chillingly excellent HEVC H.265 encode, showing a few welcomed improvements but overall looking comparable to its Blu-ray peer. Shot entirely on the Arri Alexa camera system, capable of up to 3K resolution, the upscaled transfer trots into town with slightly sharper detailing along various buildings … Faces are highly revealing, exposing every pore, wrinkle and the tiniest negligible blemish, and the iconic mask comes with better lifelike texture. However, there is the occasional instance of softness and some very mild aliasing along the sharpest edges.” — High-Def Digest.

➢ “Universal’s Blu-ray presentation of the film offers a mostly satisfying high definition experience. The film was shot digitally, which for me goes against the aesthetic and continuity of the original, which was and is such a solid film-based experience. However, nothing is compromised with the new film’s presentation as it’s first rate. Deep, inky black levels are complimented by impressive shadow detail, despite a minor lack of depth due to the format it was shot on.” — The Digital Bits.


➢ “The image is typically Sony, a gorgeous, complex presentation that showcases the source material with striking detail, including deep layers of dirt and grime caked onto faces and clothes, the intimate details of largely unblemished terrain, fine stone work, and animal furs. The movie can look a little artificial and flat in more effects-heavy shots.” —

➢ “A largely stunning 1080p/AVC-encoded high definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. With such lavish, spectacular cinematography, the film really would have looked special in full 4K, but this looks suitably tremendous nonetheless, delivering beautiful panoramic vistas, and close-up nuances with equal aplomb.” — AVForums.

● Also new are Goosebumps 2 and Frog Dreaming and re-issues of Cat People (1982), The Serpent and the Rainbow and The Killers.

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